While present-day mass political action may seem to have overwhelmingly depleted to clicking and ‘signing’ online petitions as they float through cyberspace, the value of community action and letter writing cannot be lost.
At this time of year, Amnesty International groups join together to write letters condemning human rights abuses by overseas governments. This Sunday, Amnesty International Eastern Suburbs invites locals (and Sydney-siders from further afield) to join them for an informal gathering where you can write your own letters, and sign template letters and petitions to overseas governments. There is also the option to write a note of support to an individual from a small pool of politically active or at-risk people whom Write For Rights are supporting this year.
Causes being brought to the table this year include the welfare of the Indigenous people of the Peace River, Canada, represented by Helen Knott (pictured). The impending construction of a government approved dam threatens to permanently harm the culture and way of life of the Indigenous peoples of the Peace River Valley. Letter writers are encouraged to write to the Prime Minister of Canada and send messages of solidarity to the people of the Peace River.
Other causes include the plight to free Ilham Tohti, a well-respected university professor, from a lifetime jail sentence, punishment for peacefully challenging the Chinese government’s policies towards ethnic minorities; and Máxima Acuña, a peasant farmer from northern Peru who is in a legal battle with one of the world’s biggest gold and copper mines and has braved violent attacks for refusing to leave the land where she lives with her family.
Last year, Amnesty International Australia supporters contributed 110,000 actions, which led to the release of five people and made a real difference to their lives. This year, you’re invited to be part of similar change.
Dec 4, 3–5pm. Berkelouw Bookshop, 19 Oxford St, Paddington. Free. Info: www.amnesty.org.au Register at: firstname.lastname@example.org